It was obvious that Matteo Faraguna has the skills to succeed in many sports.
An accomplished track and field star with the Kootenay Chaos as well as a pretty good minor hockey player and skier, the 12-year-old prodigy, however, decided to follow in the footsteps of his father Al and grandfather Guido to pursue a career in the roundball sport.
Faraguna took a major step in that direction after being selected to the Thompson Okanagan U13 Intakes BC Soccer Premier League squad following tryouts earlier this year in Kelowna.
“I was very excited to be on the team and have the chance to get to know all of the coaches, staff and players,” the Nelson Youth Soccer star told The Nelson Daily.
Faraguna played the past season for the U12 Development squad with NYS.
However, needing a little more incentive in the sport, Trafalgar Middle School student decided to tryout with BCSPL in the Okanagan.
“I have only known Matteo for a brief period of time, what we saw was a player that had a tremendous work rate and speed to match,” said Thompson Okanagan Technical Director Jason Thompson.
“His ability in a one on one situation was very good and has a very good base of technical skill. Mateo’s compete level is very good.”
The Intakes team has commenced preseason training, with Faraguna and Company completing the first week of practice.
The team is preparing to attend the SX Cup Labour Day weekend in the Lower Mainland.
The following weekend the Thompson/Okanagan Association hosts a BCSPL Jamboree where Intake teams from throughout the province travels to Kelowna.
The U13 Intake festival happens every fall, combining all of the rookie U13 players to the BCSPL at one location.
Thompson said the league runs until early November, depending on playoffs, concluding around November 25.
The players have December off before returning to the training grounds in January.
Second half begins February 25, running through until July.
Thompson said this a long stretch for the players and there is a lot of travel during February, March and April combined with twice-a-week training sessions.
“I am not surprised,” Thompson exclaimed when asked about the talent pool in the Kootenays.
“We have had players in the past from the Kootenay’s that were involved. With the addition of the Whitecaps Prospects Centre there I only see players getting better and better.”
Thompson said it’s that partnership between the Whitecaps and BC Soccer that is opening up high-level soccer to the entire province instead of teams being filled with players from Lower Mainland or Okanagan associations.
“We speak with the regional head coaches of these academies about up and coming players and players that are displaying a high level of play,” Thompson explains.
“It is a great system that benefits TOFC (Thompson Okanagan Football Club), the Whitecaps and links the players to the highest level of play that BC Soccer can provide.”
“I am certain with the coaching that is provided at the Whitecaps Academies more players will come out of these areas,” Thompson adds.
Faraguna, who arrived at the Intakes as a striker, is impressed with the level of coaching and competition during the first week of training.
Continuing to want to grow his game has been a goal for Faraguna.
And one he most definitely would like to maintain.
“My goals from now on are to work as hard as I can to make the HPP (High Performance Program) and hopefully one day receive a scholarship and possibly play for the National Team,” Faraguna said.
No doubt with skill from the Faraguna gene pool, — his grandfather Guido, chewed up defenses and filled nets during his time on Interior pitches while father Al, was just as skilled on those same fields in youth and senior men's soccer, those goals don’t seem to be too far out of line.